Explore The Outermost Reaches of the Universe Via The SDSS Cone Search API

Garrett Wilkin
Oct. 08 2012, 09:00AM EDT

When I'm deciding which intergalactic data set to work with, I don't want to take any half measures.  That's why I'm drawn to the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS).  In their own words, "The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) is one of the most ambitious and influential surveys in the history of astronomy."  Sounds like their putting the project right up there with the greats like Galileo.  You can bring this level of astronomical greatness into your app via the SDSS APIs:  SDSS cone search & SDSS image cut-out.

A layperson like myself will probably feel a little lost when looking into this API.  There's no easy to use developer console, but guess what, mapping the universe isn't easy either.  You have to want it!  If terms like right-ascension and declination crop up in your everyday conversations, and you're ready to deal with XML & SOAP you'll be in business in no time.  Maybe you'd employ something like a Java framework that is fully conversant with WSDL defined services.  You might have to jump through some hoops, but at least you don't have to build and operate your own telescope.

Garrett Wilkin

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[...] Of the many APIs we published this week, ten were highlighted on the blog by our team of writers. In this post, we’ll launch those ten into the spotlight, which included the Sloan Digital Sky Survey API. The SDSS has captured images covering more than a quarter of the sky, containing more than 930,000 galaxies and 120,000 quasars. The API allows developers to do a cone search, retrieving whatever is available for a given position in the sky and a given radius about that position. Developers can then take this imagery and integrate it into their applications however they choose, which may be easier said than done. To learn more about the SDSS API visit the SDSS site as well as the SDSS blog post. [...]